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Town of Stettler reviewing renumeration policy prior to October election

Also affecting council renumeration is the Canada Revenue Agency

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

With an election coming up, the Town of Stettler council is reviewing councillor renumeration.

Chief Administrative Officer Greg Switenky presented the review to council during their Aug. 16 council meeting.

Compared to other municipalities, the Town of Stettler renumeration is fair according to Switenky.

“From a base salary standpoint, you were bang on,” said Switenky, though he did point that the base pay for councillors was “a little low.”

Also affecting council renumeration is the Canada Revenue Agency. At the time of the last renumeration review, one-third of council renumeration was tax exempt; however, effective Jan. 1, 2019, that exemption was removed by the Canada Revenue Agency, resulting in councillors taking a significant pay-cut.

Administration recommended that due to that exemption being removed, council should consider increasing their renumeration to the point that they are bringing in the same amount as they were before exemption removal.

“You should change your salary to recoup your loss from the (Canada Revenue Agency),” said Switenky.

“The only change would be to restore your loss due to income tax. If you do that, and that alone, the budget hit for 2022 will be about $17,000.”

The recommendation is not without precedent.

At the time of the change, many councils across the province pondered the change, however, Stettler council decided to leave things as they were until the pre-election review.

If passed, the mayor would see an increase to around $40,000 a year, and councillors would go up to around $20,000 a year. In total, the increase would work out to about an extra $4,000 a year for the mayor, and $2,000 for council members. This would not include the annual cost-of-living increase already written into the policy.

Due to three councillors being missing from the Aug. 16 meeting, the decision was made to table the discussion until all members can be present to discuss and pass the amended policy.